Carbondale is bridging the gap |

Carbondale is bridging the gap

Gregory Conroy
Carbondale Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE ” The Community Integration Initiative appears to be the latest and greatest player in the ongoing effort to integrate and bridge the gap between ethnic communities in the Roaring Fork Valley.

The organization received a $2,000 commitment from the town of Carbondale Tuesday for the purpose of placing information kiosks around the town that would contain information for the Latino community with regard to various things, such as proper vehicle registration, public transportation, and legal issues.

The organization hopes that the kiosks will serve as useful amenities for Latino community members, who often feel stifled by the cultural and language barrier when attempting to obtain information.

The Carbondale Board of Trustees, including newly sworn-in members Pam Zentmyer, John Hoffmann and Frosty Merriott, approved the project allocation unanimously Tuesday.

“The idea is to integrate immigrants through an available information kiosk that will be in a centralized location,” said Tom Ziemann, steering committee member with Community Integration Initiative.

Ziemann said the information contained in the kiosks will generally be in the form of fliers and pamphlets, and that it will be entirely secular with no religious leanings or undertones.

Ziemann said that some of the brochures have already been produced but that they would still need to be refined before the kiosks go up. Locations such as Garcia’s restaurant on Highway 133 or Teresa’s Market on Main Street, where larger populations of the Latino community tend to congregate, would be useful places for the new kiosks. However, official locations have not yet been determined, Ziemann said.

“We want you folks to show us the money,” Ziemann said. “And then we’ll go ahead and figure out a location.”

While town trustees agreed last summer that it would certainly be a great idea, the only obstacle at the time was where the organization would come up with the funding for the information booths.

The consensus of the board at the time was that the committee should apply for funding through the town’s grant process, which it did. However, the request was shot down at budget time. Trustees suggested the group return at a later date when other discretionary funding options could be considered.

“I think it’s a neat idea,” Hoffmann said. He said that he would have liked to have viewed the information pamphlets ahead of time before voting, but that he understood that they were not finalized yet.

Ziemann said that the re-stocking of the information materials would be done on a volunteer basis, but he expects that it shouldn’t be a very involved task.

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